Haldon Forest Park

Following our withdrawal from Poltimore, CCANW contacted Devon County Council and Town and District Councils within a 21 mile radius of Exeter. With the help of DeFacto consultants, appointed in January 2003 and funded by the South West Regional Development Agency, 21 options of locations in and around Devon were evaluated and recommendations made to the Trustees.

Image: CCANW’s Project Space in spring 2006. Photo Chris Lewis.

The Location Shortlist

By March 2004, a shortlist of four was drawn up including a mill site in Okehampton, Haldon Forest, Silverton Stables (owned by the Landmark Trust), and the Occombe Farm Project. From this list, Haldon Forest run by the Forestry Commission (FC) was chosen.

As early as 1995, I had met with the FC to discuss a relocation to Haldon but at that time they had no plans to develop visitor facilities. Now, they had already conducted a Feasibility Study over the development of Haldon Forest which led to an application and a substantial grant from Sport England.

Partnership with the Forestry Commission

The partnership with the FC was announced on 5 June 2004. The major appeal of working with the Commission at Haldon at this time was that it already had plans and funding from Sport England to re-brand the forest as Haldon Forest Park (HFP) and this involved the creation of new infrastructure, including walking and cycle trails, parking, toilets and catering. The Commission also identified several possible sites at Haldon for a new shared building but it was agreed that CCANW would first convert an existing building that was redundant.

Building before conversion 2004. Photo Clive Adams.

After our experiences at Dunsland and Poltimore, Arts Council England/South West (ACESW) recommended that we work with an already strong partner and establish ourselves in phases. They awarded a grant of £55,000 towards the cost of converting the redundant building at Haldon and delivering our programme from 1 May 2005 to 30 April 2006. Awards for All gave £4,600 in March 2004, Devon County Council gave £5,000, Dartmoor Sustainable Development Fund £7,707, the Forestry Commission gave £5,000 and put a new roof on our building. In early August 2004, Teignbridge Rural Regeneration Fund gave a substantial grant of £61,000 including £28,000 towards the building works.

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Building Conversion

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